3. Joey Votto signs a contract extension to play for the Reds in 2024.
Don't throw your phone across the room just yet. Give me a moment to explain. It would be easy to simply sit back and say that Joey Votto will ride off into the sunset during the final guaranteed year of his contract as the Cincinnati Reds usher in a new era of baseball in the Queen City. But again, these are bold predictions.
Now, all of that may be true. Votto is in the final guaranteed year of a 10-year extension that some fans throughout Reds Country wish he'd never signed. Yes, Votto is making a lot of money and since 2018, hasn't produced anything close to what that contract demands outside of a second-half surge during 2021.
But, if fans are to take Joey Votto at his word that he's been playing through an injury that the six-time All-Star suffered several years ago, could that be a reason for his poor production over the last five seasons?
Votto is currently on a rehab assignment following major surgery and should rejoin the big league club in the next few weeks. A notorious slow starter, this ball club cannot wait around for Votto to "figure it out". He's going to have to hit the ground running, and one could argue that the former NL MVP should be batting seventh in the Reds lineup upon his return.
Joey Votto has a $20-million team option with a $7-million buyout for next season. Under no circumstances should the Cincinnati Reds pick up that option. But, could the two sides come to an agreement on an incentive laden contract extension? Perhaps a one-year deal that would allow Votto to make up to $7-million if he hit certain parameters?
Prior to this season, pundits outside of Reds' circles had suggested that in order for Votto to end his career with a World Series ring he'd have to leave Cincinnati. If Votto, who'll turn 40 years old later this season, wants to go out on top, he may not have a better chance than he will this season and next with the Reds.
Obviously, with so much young talent coming up through the Cincinnati Reds system, Joey Votto cannot play the role that he has for the majority of his career. But, if Votto can swallow his pride, agree to take less money and a lesser role, don't be shocked if he and the Reds' brass agree on a contract extension beyond this season.